Become a Private Detective through Training and Certification in New Jersey

To become a licensed private detective in New Jersey, you must complete a number of steps:

Meet Minimum Requirements in New Jersey
Complete New Jersey Education and Experience Requirements
Obtain a Complete Set of Fingerprints in New Jersey
Apply for a New Jersey License as a Private Investigator
Pursue Work in New Jersey
Maintain your New Jersey License

There are more than 2,000 licensed private detectives and private security agencies in the State of New Jersey, according to New Jersey’s Private Detective Unit.

The New Jersey State Police, Private Detective Unit, is responsible for the administration and enforcement of all laws relating to private detectives and private detective agencies in the State of New Jersey, which stems from the Private Detective Act of 1939. This Act includes all cities and municipalities in New Jersey, from Newark and Edison to Paterson, Jersey City, and Elizabeth.

 


 

Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements in New Jersey

Similar to other licensed professions in the State of New Jersey, private investigators must meet these minimum requirements to be eligible for licensure:

  • A resident of the United States
  • At least 25 years old

 


 

Step 2. Complete New Jersey Education and Experience Requirements

To become a licensed private investigator in New Jersey, you must show proof of at least 5 years of experience as an investigator or police officer with a local or state police department or with an investigative agency for a county, city, state or federal organization.

Although there are no educational requirements for private investigators in New Jersey, many individuals pursuing this career path choose to first complete a degree program in criminal justice or a related field as to obtain a comprehensive understanding of and appreciation for the criminal justice system. Further, a degree from an accredited college or university often facilitates the process of obtaining the necessary experience required for licensure as a private investigator in New Jersey.

Penn Foster Career School's Online Private Investigator Training Program

Learn how to perform background investigations, operate surveillance equipment, and many other PI secrets through Penn Foster Career School's nationally accredited online Private Investigator training program. In less than three months, you can take the first step towards a career investigating missing persons cases, outing insurance fraudsters, handling cases related to marriage infidelity, and much more.

Request information to learn how Penn Foster Career School's distance learning program can quickly and conveniently help you begin your path towards a career in private investigation.

 


 

Step 3. Obtain a Complete Set of Fingerprints in New Jersey

You must submit to electronic fingerprinting to become a private detective in New Jersey.

Before you can obtain your fingerprints, you must contact the New Jersey State Police, Private Detective Unit at 609-633-9835 to request a temporary agent license number, which will be entered into block #7 of your Universal Form:

  • Universal Form for Owner/Operators
  • Universal Form for Private Detective Agency Employees

You must visit one of the MorphoTrak sites (a list of sites is available on their website: www.bioapplicant.com) to obtain your fingerprints. This service costs $67.50.

 


 

Step 4. Apply for a New Jersey License as a Private Investigator

Upon meeting the minimum education and experience requirements, you must apply for a private investigator license in New Jersey by completing the Application for Private Detective License and choosing the license for which you are applying:

  • Individual License
  • Corporate License
  • Corporate License Officer (does not need to meet the experience requirements)
  • LLC License
  • LLC License Member (does not need to meet the experience requirements)
  • Partnership License

You must also include the following documents with your completed application:

  • An application fee of $250 (firm, association or corporation is $300), made payable to the State of New Jersey
  • A passport-sized photograph
  • At least 5 references from reputable citizens over the age of 21 who can attest to your competency to serve as a licensed private investigator
  • A notarized and signed Authorization for Release of Information form (included with the application)
  • A Detective Agency License Surety Bond form
    • Individual surety bond must be at least $3,000
    • Firm, association or corporation surety bond must be at least $5,000

Mail the completed application and related documents to:

New Jersey State Police
Private Detective Unit
P.O. Box 7068
West Trenton, NJ 08628

 


 

Step 5. Pursue Work in New Jersey

Private investigators in New Jersey often seek membership in professional associations, such as the New Jersey Licensed Private Investigators Association. Members of the NJLPIA can network with other licensed private investigators in the state, participate in training events and conferences, and stay current on legislation that affects the private investigation profession.

Professional certification in this field is also common through such associations as:

 


 

Step 6. Maintain your New Jersey License

Private investigator licenses must be renewed every 2 years. They must be renewed by completing and notarizing the Renewal Application for New Jersey Private Detective License, submitting a recent passport-sized photograph, and paying the $200 individual license (or $250 for all other types of licenses) renewal fee.

If you are renewing a corporate or LLC license, you must include a copy of your last annual report or provide a Corporate Resolution that lists the current officers.

You must also include your current surety bond and submit to fingerprinting services again through MorphoTrak.

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